For the short drive down the coast to Stonehaven, AGSFP’s 3rd XI had to make the usual 6 changes to the team which had lost at Banchory the previous week. Unavailable this week were Alexander, Stuart, D’Costa, Goodenough, Gillies and Johnston. Into the team came Doug Russell, Abdul Khan, Shri Balasubramani, Tom Murray, Arun Chithambaram and this week’s debutant scholboy Akil Thanga to join Paul Norwood, Rutwik Hedge, Rajaa Monnapillai, Kingshuk Ghosh and captain Sandeep Dhanamani.
Once the lost cars had arrived, FP’s won the toss and invited Stonehaven 2nd XI to bat first. Stonehaven skipper Dave Long Snr opened the batting with schoolboy O. Plummer. FP’s opening bowlers Khan and Monnapillai bowled a tight opening spell with a couple of chances going down. Monnapillai ended his spell with 5 – 1 – 21 – 0 with almost half the runs coming from two strokes by Plummer, one of which was his first 6 for Stonehaven.
New bowler Russell broke the opening stand when he had Plummer well caught by a diving Murray at cover for 24 (2 × 6, 1 x 4), Stonehaven 44 – 1 off 14.5 overs. Khan was given a rest after bowling 8 fast, accurate overs for just 8 runs, the batsmen hapy to see off the opening bowler. Russell struck again in his 4th over when Long was adjudged LBW, out after a stubborn innings of 6, Stonehaven 52 – 2 off 17.1 overs.
FP’s captain Dhanamani then came on to bowl and also took a wicket in his 2nd over when J. Gouws tried to attack but only succeeded in giving a skied caught and bowled which was well taken by the bowler, Gouws out for a duck, Stonehaven 53 – 3 off 18.5 overs. The collapse continued when Russell bowled Wilson for 3, 55 – 4, then it became 58 – 5 when H. Wilson was run out after a mix up.
Dhanamani struck again as Thanga took a catch to dismiss J. Law, 66 – 6. The next wicket fell at 71, N. Grundy out LBW to Thanga, a first wicket for the debutant in his first over! P. Law had played some good shots to keep the scoreboard moving, but new bowler Hedge bowled a beauty and wicketkeeper Ghosh was delighted to take the chance offered, Law scoring 24 ( 1 × 6, 3 x 4) Stonehaven 91 – 8.
Stonehaven only had 10 players, so last ‘man’ in was 12 year old Phoenix Gouws, daughter of all rounder J. Gouws who had been dismissed for a duck. Fortunately family pride was restored when Ms Gouws twice guided shots through gully, but was eventually bowled by Hedge for 3, Stonehaven all out 96 off 32.2 overs, B. Donnelly not out 4.
Wicket takers Russell 7 – 0 – 24 – 3, Hedge 1.2 – 0 – 2 – 2, Dhanamani 6 – 1 – 12 – 2, Thanga 3 – 0 – 5 – 1. Khan was unlucky not to take a wicket after 8 overs for only 8 runs. FP’s concede to many wides again, but this was partly due to a wet ball as the rain fell during a large part of the innings.
Following tea, openers Norwood and Ghosh went out to bat in overcast conditions. Unfortunately Ghosh did not last long, bowled playing down the wrong line, FP ‘s 2 – 1 of 1.3 overs. Stonehaven bowlers Gouws and Plummer were both bowling well and giving nothing away and Norwood and Hedge had to battle for each run, it was not until the 10th over that Norwood scored the first boundary of the innings , score 20 – 1.
The score mounted slowly, FP’s knowing there were plenty of overs and taking no chances. After 17 overs the persistant rain became too heavy and the players took a break. Fortunately Stonehaven had covers on the wicket quickly and so the pitch did not get too wet. Stonehaven generously agreed to continue the match with the rain still falling despite FP’s being firm favourites to win with only 43 runs required and 9 wickets in hand.
The threat of more rain and a possible washout saw the batsmen go for their shots and it was Hedge who demonstrated his great pot1ential without 3 cracking boundaries off an over from Wilson, then hitting a no ball from Law for a 6 soon after. The match was by now all but won by FP’s and with the scorers advising Hedge he was approaching a maiden half century the main interest was to see if Hedge could reach his fifty. A good piece of farming by Norwood left FP’s needing 1 to win and Hedge requiring 3 to get his fifty. After a couple of near things, Hedge put everyone out of their misery when he drove the third ball of the over to the mid off boundary with a superb straight drive, coolness personified. Norwood scored 38 not out (3 × 4) and battled through some good bowling from Gouws ( 11 – 1 – 24 – 0) and schoolboy Plummer (9.3 – 1 – 29 – 1).
But it was 14 year old Hedge who was the hero showing great concentration and technique to keep out the good balls and punish the few bad balls, finishing 51 not out ( 1 × 6, 5 x 4), FP’s 100 – 1 off 27.3 overs. A much needed win for FP’s where good bowling restricted the Stonehaven total, and cool batting led to a convincing win, a first win for the schoolboy contingent. Stonehaven also fielded a young team including a 12 year old girl, who all seemed to enjoy the game.
Champagne Moment – the classy shot to bring Rutwik his first 50
Man of the Match – Rutwik with 2 for 2 and 50, great effort